Ramon Laureano taking at bats, running every other day as return date nears

first_imgKANSAS CITY — It’s been five weeks since Ramon Laureano fell on the 10-day IL with a stress reaction in his shin. Doctors told him back then he’d need a 4-to-6 week recovery period.It looks like Laureano could return to the lineup well within that frame. He’s taking at bats and running every other day, a routine that could be enough to prevent a trip to Stockton or Las Vegas for a rehab assignment.“We’d consider this the rehab assignment, facing pitchers,” manager Bob Melvin said. “They’re …last_img read more

Amen: Football’s forgotten heroes

first_img29 June 2010With the spotlight on South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, it’s easy to forget what the game of football is like elsewhere on the continent – played far, far away from glitzy stadiums, often in remote dusty villages with hand-made balls, bare feet and a couple of crooked sticks for goal posts.This is what photographer Jessica Hilltout is trying to show. Her recently launched book, Amen, seeks to draw attention to the spirit of grassroots football in Africa, and the highly dedicated players and teams that follow the game as if it were a religion.MediaClubSouthAfricaFree high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. “All the people who live and will remain in the shadow of the World Cup deserve to have a light shone on them, not just for their passion for the game, but more so for the fundamental energy and enthusiasm that shines through the way they live,” she says.In this regard her work delves deeper than the sport itself: “This book is not just about football, or indeed about football in Africa. It is a book that tries to capture the beauty and strength of the human spirit. It pays homage to Africa. It is a tribute to the forgotten, to the majority,” Ogilvy & Mather’s creative director, Ian Brower, writes in the introduction.MediaClubSA Gallery: Grassroots African football“Africa is a world like no other … there lies a passion for the festival, a reason to rejoice. These moments are centred around music and football. Often the two go hand in hand. Football is the one activity that costs nothing.”So be itHilltout believes, and has largely based her work on the premise, that in Africa, football is not a religion, but everything a religion should be. “Football is the glue in Africa – it’s a necessity,” she says.“In every little village, no matter how far off the main road, I’d find people playing football at sunrise and sunset. One small village could have as many as five football fields. Waking up at dawn I’d join the players and spectators gathering together on the football field, like we were congregating at a shrine or a temple. There was a true sense of devotion to the game.”The book’s title is also based on this sentiment. “Amen is a four-letter word, the same in every language. It means ‘so be it’,” Hilltout says.“This is very pertinent to Africa in terms of how people accept their fate, with pride and dignity, tough as it may be. It was also the word I heard the most during my trip. When I would leave groups I had been working with, they would say to me: ‘Amen, amen. May this project work. Amen, amen.’”A life on the roadHilltout, who was born in Belgium in 1977, is no stranger to travelling and a life on the road. As a child her family moved around a lot and spent time in the Seychelles, US, Canada, Hong Kong and South Africa.After studying photography in Blackpool, UK, and a brief stint in advertising in Europe, she bought an old Toyota Land Cruiser with her boyfriend in 2002 and made a 15-month trip from Belgium to Mongolia.Following this, the two shipped the car to South Africa’s port of Durban and drove up through Africa, back to Brussels. Throughout the journey, Hilltout kept log books and a photographic record of the regions and places she explored.“Although there was no thread holding my work together at that stage, it was the foundation of what I am trying to express now: highlighting the value of simple, banal things – that stuff that people usually overlook. My first photographic project that held any ground was called the Beauty of Imperfection, which Amen is linked to. It also pays tribute to the imperfect.”Return to AfricaIt was Christmas 2008, back in Europe, when the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup sparked the idea of a grassroots football book for Hilltout and her dad, who ended up working with her on the project. “We thought, that with this huge event happening for Africa as a continent, why don’t we show everyone what football means in the little villages, cities and towns across Africa, the places that aren’t going to be the focus tournament?”For the project, Hilltout concentrated on Southern and West Africa, covering about 20 000km between South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire.“There was no real planning for the trip. Nothing had really been pre-arranged. I got on a flight to Cape Town from Brussels, and with me was a Hasselblad with one 80mm lens, 300 rolls of film, a digital camera, my log books, a mini printer and a stock of new footballs. I packed this all into an old VW Beetle that was equipped with a roof rack, three spare tyres, two jerry cans and a higher suspension.”Southern Africa was a natural choice because Hilltout’s dad had the Beetle stored in Cape Town, so she borrowed it for that portion of the trip, but West Africa was a more spontaneous choice.“I decided to go to West Africa because I had never covered that region before … and I knew there were lots of big football countries there, like Ghana and Ivory Coast – so I just flew to Accra. Once I arrived there I bought a Nissan Vanette and kitted it out with four big boxes: one for footballs, one for food and the other two for clothes and film. The whole trip was done on gut-feeling. I would literally arrive in a village … start talking to people … show them my log books with the ideas I had for the project … then off we’d go.“All in all I spent seven months on the road and worked in about 20 different places across the two regions. Each place has a story to it, and that’s covered in the book. There are stories about the guys who fixed boots in the villages, the guy who took in hard-up youngsters and mentored them, and the guy who owns a ‘football cinema’ in West Africa that’s built of mud and sticks, but it can seat 60 fans – and you can even get a fried egg and cup of coffee in there while watching the game!“After this I returned to Europe to put it all together. In total I spent about two years on the project.”Communicating with locals wasn’t too much of a problem for Hilltout, as she speaks English, French and Spanish, but she admits things were a little difficult in Mozambique, as she couldn’t converse in Portuguese. “I drafted a letter and got it translated from Spanish into Portuguese and addressed to the chiefs of the villages I intended visiting.”The contacts she made in the bigger towns, who she says became “her very good friends”, helped her connect with communities in far-off places and translated when only an African language was spoken.“The people with whom I worked were all essential to this project. Once they understood the message I was trying to portray, once I’d gained their trust, they gave me more than I could ever have dreamed. They let me into their villages and homes. They proudly showed me their shoes, their balls, their jerseys.”Trust was a big thing, Hilltout says. “Sometimes it took three days before I took out my camera. I was very aware of the fear of deception, and how these people had perhaps been promised things before. They think people are coming to take – not to give back. And I think this is very well reflected in the history of Africa.”Tired ballsThroughout her trip she exchanged the manufactured footballs she’d brought along for more intricate, home-made ones put together with old socks, pieces of cloth, string, plastic bags and – believe it or not – condoms. Hilltout says that once inflated and covered in a few protective layers, these can keep a ball bouncy for up to three days!“Eventually I found myself with 35 such balls and realised the extent to which they represented the essence of my trip and the heart of the project. I am looking to exchange the balls I collected for equipment for all the players who made this project come to life … so that they can keep on playing the game they love,” she says.UK sports writer and author David Goldblatt talks about this collection extensively in the foreword to Amen: “A few years ago I wrote on the opening page of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football: ‘Football is available to anyone who can make a rag ball and find another pair of feet to pass to’, as if making a rag ball were a simple matter.“How glib, how foolish, and from a man who had never made a rag ball in his life. I still have not made a rag ball, but I have had the good fortune to see the photographs in this book, Jessica Hilltout’s Amen, and I will never take the manufacture of footballs, from any material, so lightly again.“Among the many things that I have learnt from this book, is that getting or making that ball is no simple task. On the contrary, it is emblematic of the inventiveness, diligence, creativity and single-minded focus of Africans in particular, but of poor communities everywhere,” Goldblatt writes.Exhibitions and book salesThe photographs in Amen are on exhibition in Cape Town, at the Joao Ferreira Gallery, from 15 June to 24 July. A similar exhibition is on in Brussels, Belgium until 18 July.The 208-page hardcover version of Amen is currently available in all major South African book stores for R600 (US$77), and available in magazine format for R190 ($24).Where to from here?“Part one of my campaign is to get the word out about the book, and then the next step is to use the publicity and funds generated from it to make a sustainable contribution to the football communities I photographed in Africa,” Hilltout says. “Of course, I can’t go back and help everyone, but want to focus on two highly committed groups I met in West Africa.”While Hilltout is working to make a positive change in lives of those she photographed, she says her own outlook has changed too.“The life lessons I learned in Africa could never have been learned in Europe. This project has changed me. I’ve begun to understand the true importance of football, which would have been impossible if I hadn’t lived through all the stories in order to capture the pictures. Through football I think I understand a little more about life, or at least a certain way of living.”First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Quotable OR Tambo

first_imgBorn in 1917, OR Tambo would have been 100 years old this year. He is remembered as a selfless and accessible leader, as a man who cultivated personal relationships with people he knew and always remembered people’s names.OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela were leaders who inspired through their oratory. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterHe has been eulogized as an inspiration to activists. A man whose towering intellect was evidence of his broad ranging interests. He is also remembered as an orator who inspired who inspired loyalty through his leadership.Below is a list of his most interesting speeches from his time in exile.Acting as self-confident and conscious makers of history, as liberators, we, the offsprings of the so-called Dark Continent, destroyed and buried an entire historical epoch that had been imposed on the peoples of the universe by the ruling classes of an allegedly enlightened Europe and North America. We who were described as backwards became the midwives of the new social reality of independent people, the reality of the collapse of the colonial system, and confounded those who, having invested themselves with an omnipotent and omniscient personality, had thought such a result impossible, undesirable and even inconceivable.OAU Liberation Committee, Arusha, 10 February 1983We are one people today. This means we are recapturing our glorious past. We were one people. History put us together on this continent from time immemorial. We evolved together, shared a common African culture, traded with one another and dealt each with the other as human beings, whether in times of war or in times of peace, whether in circumstances of hunger or in conditions of plenty.Frelimo Mass rally at Bairro De Liberdade, Maputo, 14 February 1982As we look back over these past twenty years, our glorious martyrs stand out before us: men and women who made the supreme sacrifice for the people`s cause; fighters who stood rock-solid in the face of fascist brutality, refusing to submit; soldiers who fought from the frontline, fearless and firm in their conviction of the certainty of victory.on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Formation of Umkhonto We Sizwe, 16 December 1981It is true that man is mainly concerned with his day-to-day affairs. But it is also true that youth, by their very nature, are curious as to what lies behind these problems.second Pan-African Youth Seminar Dar Es Salaam, 5 August 1961The objective of our struggle in South Africa, as set out in the Freedom Charter, encompasses economic emancipation. It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation.60th Anniversary of the South African Communist Party, London, 30 July 1981The pursuit of the certainties of a bygone age has itself become the gravedigger of fond hopes that injustice could be rationalised into a system of thought, implemented as a practice and imposed as a decree and be accepted by the victims of that injustice. Illusions closely held for many a year, that white minority rule would last an eternity, are stalking all the enclaves of white South Africa, proclaiming everywhere that, in fact, they are illusions, fleeting shadows without substance.second National Consultative Conference of the ANC, Kabwa Zambia, 16 June 1985South Africa today is a country of immense inequalities. The bedrock of our perspective is our commitment to the establishment of democracy in a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white.OR Tambo in a statement to the Business International Conference, 27 May 1987 in London:“They (women) have a duty to liberate us men from antique concepts and attitudes about the place and role of women in society and in the development and direction of our revolutionary struggle.”OR Tambo: at the concluding session of the Conference of the Women`s Section of the ANC, Luanda, 14 September 1981Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img

Farmers’ rally in Maharashtra: Maximum march

first_imgOn March 6, nearly 10,000 farmers embarked on a long march from near Nashik to the Maharashtra Assembly in Mumbai. By the time they reached Maximum City on March 12, walking about 25 km a day to cover the 180 kilometres, their numbers, by some estimates, touched 40,000.Men and women of all age groups walked in searing heat — the temperature peaked at 38 degrees Celsius on some days. Some were in their late seventies, and many walked barefoot as they tried to draw attention to their distress in a silent, dignified manner. En route, hey cooked simple meals for themsleves and refilled their bottles with water from tankers. By day, they kept up their spirits with slogans enunciating their rights and the strength of unity. At night, many relaxed with music and singing; some even had the energy to dance. Walking at the crack of dawn, they were off again by 6 a.m. every morning.As they neared Shahapur in Thane district, residents came out in support and provided water and refreshments. As they reached Mumbai’s border on March 10, the long strip of red evoked a poignant response from a city that is usually insular to reral distress. On March 11, , as they reached Vikhroli, residents showered flower petals on them and provided water. A nearby gurdwara cooked poha and served it to the marhcers. For the rest of the way, scores of people chipped in with refreshments at regular intervals.The original plan was to start from Sion on the morning of March 12, Monday, and gherao the Assembly. But that was dropped to avoid disrupting life in the city, particularly when schoolchildren are in the middle of exams. Displaying an empathy rarely seen among protesting groups, the farmers found secret reserves of energy to attain their goal and let the city go about its business. They marched through the night after just a few hours’ rest and assembled peacefully at Azad Maidan before daybreak. In the process, the farmers, with their tired limbs and steely resolves, not only won over Mumbai’s heart but also left the Chief Minister “humbled”. By evening, the government yielded to most of the demands of their long march, and special trains were arranged to take them back to their fields.last_img read more

Kirk Herbstreit Has OSU In His Top 4

first_imgKirk Herbstreit releases a top 4 each week with much controversy, and Saturday night he named Oklahoma State – OKLAHOMA STATE – in his top 4, ahead of Baylor.What a day of CFB!! Week 10 in the books. My top 4.1-Clemson2-Bama3-Ohio State4-Oklahoma StateNext 2…BaylorND@CollegeGameDay @espn— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 8, 2015AdChoices广告Obviously these rankings will be shaken up with the November gauntlet, but it’s good to see one analyst paying attention to what the Cowboys have done.I thought Josh Elias summed it up nicely…https://twitter.com/JMElias47/status/663217940737601537That’s the thanks I get for picking you to win today?!? Not cool Josh! https://t.co/6juWYPeLEo— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 8, 2015 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more